Australia–Kosovo relations

Australia–Kosovo relations refer to the bilateral relations of Australia and Kosovo[a]. Kosovo and Australia officially established diplomatic relations on 21 May 2008.[1] Kosovo has an embassy in Canberra, which was opened in February 2013.[2] The Ambassador of Australia to Kosovo is subordinate to the embassy in Vienna.[3]



Diplomatic mission
Australian Embassy, ZagrebEmbassy of Kosovo, Canberra
Ambassador Elizabeth PetrovicAmbassador Hajdin Abazi


In 1999, Australia initially refused to join NATO in accepting extra refugees from Kosovo, offering only temporary asylum to visitors trapped in Australia by the war in Yugoslavia.[4]

This decision was quickly overruled by Prime Minister John Howard who authorised nearly 4,000 Kosovo refugees temporary visas to stay in Australia.[5] Also in 1999, Australia provided $500,000 to Kosovar refugees in Australia to teach them how to avoid landmines before flying home.[6] Australia encouraged the voluntary return of many of the 4,000 refugees it had provided temporary protection visas. Refugees were provided with $3,000 each to help them resettle.[7]

In 2000, the forced return of refugees from Kosovo by Australia and numerous other countries was criticised by the head of the United Nations administration in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner.[8] Australia removed 114 families in a detention centre and deported them despite a last-minute appeal to John Howard, the prime minister.[9]


Australian recognition of Kosovo

The Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared the independence of the United Nations administered territory from Serbia as the Republic of Kosovo on 17 February 2008. Australia recognised the state on 19 February 2008.[10] The decision to recognise the Republic of Kosovo was made despite Australian commentators like Michael McKinley claiming it could adversely affect relations with Russia, China, Romania and Spain.[11] On the day Kosovo declared independence, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia said that "We've already indicated to our diplomatic representatives around the world that this (independence) would be an appropriate course of action".[12] Milivoje Glisic, the Serbian ambassador to Australia, called the declaration of independence illegal, and he was recalled to Belgrade by the Serbian government for consultations on 20 February 2008.[13][14]

Australia at the ICJ

On 30 September 2008, in a trial vote regarding the legality of Kosovo's independence at the United Nations General assembly there was a vote at the request of the Serbian authorities. Australia abstained from this vote.[15]

See also


a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently (this note self-updates) recognized as an independent state by 98 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 113 UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.


  1. "Kosovo Country Brief". Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  2. "Kosovo country brief". Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  3. "Australia's International Relations". Australian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  4. "Australia says no to extra Kosovo refugees for now". Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-02-02.[dead link]
  5. "Some Kosovars Return Home Reluctantly". The New York Times. April 21, 2000. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  6. "Australia provides $500,000 for Kosovo mine training". Australian Associated Press. August 17, 1999. Retrieved 2010-02-02.[dead link]
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2011-02-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "UN criticises Kosovo refugee policy". BBC. 2000-04-12. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  9. Laville, Sandra (April 12, 2000). "Deadline that everybody is dreading". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  10. "Australia Recognises the Republic of Kosovo". Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2008-02-19. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  11. "Australia recognizes Kosovo". Thaindian News. 2008-02-19. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  12. "China 'concerned', Australia backs Kosovo split". Google News. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  13. O'Malley, Sandra (19 February 2008). "Serbia tipped to recall ambassador". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  14. O'Malley, Sandra (20 February 2008). "Belgrade recalls ambassador in Australia". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  15. Serbia receives UN backing on Kosovo in trial vote